Throughout their time hosting Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home on PBS, Jacques Pépin and Julia Child shared decades of friendship, a love of French culture and lots of wine. As part of the You & Julia: At Home series Pépin recently spoke to Amy Traverso, co-host of GBH's Weekends with Yankee, from his home in Connecticut about his half-century friendship with Julia and what this year has taught him about loving home cooking.

Here are some highlights from their conversation.

On meeting Julia for the first time in 1960:

Pépin: “I met her because of Helen McCully, who was the food editor of McCall's House Beautiful. She showed me the manuscript of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which I looked at, and I said, that's great. I was probably a bit jealous. And she said the woman who wrote that, she lives in Boston, and she will come next week. Can we cook? So that's how I met Julia. If I recall, we spoke French more than English because she just came back from France, and her French was better than my English at the time. We had a good time. We started there and we stayed friends for half a century practically.”

On how Julia would have gotten through the pandemic:

Pépin: “I think she would have done very well because she loved to cook at home. She loved her supplier that she had in Boston. I think she would have made arrangements to get food [at home]. She would have had the vaccine — I know she would have, and we would have gotten together again, as we're trying to do now.”

On appreciating home cooking:

Pépin: “[It] is extremely important to have fun in the kitchen, to enjoy eating as well as cooking. For me, there is no place more secure than the kitchen. For a kid who comes back from school, listening to the noise of the kitchen, the instrument, the voice of his father, his mother, the smell. Those are very visceral things which stay with you the rest of your life. For me, after over 70 years in the kitchen as a professional cook — if you give me the chicken of my mother, or the striped bass of the Pavillon in New York, or the souffle of the Plaza-Athenee in Paris, I can have my eyes closed, [and I could] say, ‘this is my mother's chicken, this is it.’ So those tastes stay with you the rest of your life.”

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.